Who says cloth seed bags are a thing of the past? Designer Selina Seet and her business partner, Patrick Vaughan, turn retro seed bags into pocketbooks that carry more than nostalgia.
From sweet shoulder satchels to purses to small backpacks, fabric sacks once sturdy enough to hold corn, soybean, wheat, alfalfa and all matter of seed and feed are turned into trendy bags with pockets, leather accents and brass hardware.
The idea germinated with a visit to Vaughan's boyhood home in Iowa. Seet spotted some canvas sacks at an antique store, and the seed was planted. Selina Vaughan Studios grew demand by frequenting vintage craft shows and fairs. The bags are also marketed through social media outlets like Facebook and Etsy.
They've been such a hit that the duo has "pickers" who hunt and shop to purchase the vintage sacks. By the 1960s, paper bags had mostly replaced cloth, but Vaughan says an amazing number have survived in attics and barns.
Other sellers have tried to copy the idea, but he points out that Selina Vaughan bags are made from authentic seed sacks and not replicas. Those deemed historically rare are sold to seed bag collectors to preserve the heritage of the art.
"A large percentage of our customers have a visceral connection to agriculture or the town where the company once operated," Vaughan says. "We love hearing those stories."
Prices depend on the rarity of the bag and the complexity of the handbag, but generally range from $49 to $250.
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